The Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) has spelt out the roadmap for the 2019 season with the Charity Shield kicking off on January 26, 2019.
FAZ Vice President Rix Mweemba has also given a breakdown of how the transition into the 2019/2020 season will be done.
FAZ has embraced the CAF/FIFA directive to align the league to the European standard.
Part of the genesis of the re-alignment was the conflict that emerged between African countries and European clubs to release players during the Africa Cup of Nations that was previously held in January.
The 2019 edition has been placed in the June/July window when European leagues take a break.
CAF has ratified major reforms to the continent’s club competitions.
The decision is part of the implementation of the resolutions passed in the Football symposium held last year in Morocco. The members proposed a change in periodicity of the competitions to run from September to May like the European format.
According to Caf, the 2019 continental tournaments, would have commenced in December and end in May 2019.
The immediate calendar for the club competitions used to commence in February and ended in December.
Mweemba has announced that FAZ has taken first steps in aligning the Zambian league with the CAF directive.
“The league this time kicks off on the 26th January 2019. As per custom the first game that will be played will be the Charity Shield that will be on the 26th of January,” he said.
Mweemba said the league champions Zesco United will play Barclays Cup winners Nkana.
“Normally these games had involved top four teams but this time around things have changed. What is going to happen now is that the Barclays champions will face the league champions in the Charity Shield,” he said.
All the leagues will kick off on January 27 and run up to June.
FAZ has in the transitory period divided Super Division clubs into 10 clubs each with the ones in odd numbers on one stream while the even numbered clubs are in one stream.
The first stream will have Zesco United, Green Buffaloes, Zanaco, Kabwe Warriors, Red Arrows, Lusaka Dynamos, Kitwe United, Nakambala Leopards, Circuit City and Mufulira Wanderers.
In the second batch there will be Nkana, Green Eagles, Power Dynamos, Buildcon, Nkwazi, Forest Rangers, Napsa Stars, Lumwana Radiants, Prison Leopards and Manchester United Academy.
The new league after the transitory period will commence in August with an 18 team structure and also a National Division One that will also have 18 teams.
Two teams will be relegated in June from each stream which will take the number of the Super League to 16.
To get the two teams that will win promotion into the Super League there will be playoffs for the four winners of the zones.
Top two teams will complete the Super Division structure.
For the National Division One, there will be top three teams across the four zones which will take the number to 12 with the two losers of the playoffs joining the fray.
The automatically relegated four teams from the Super Division will complete the 18 team National Division One.
FAZ will confine the rest of the leagues to the provinces.
In the transitory period, the winners of the two Super League streams will represent the country in continental football.
There will be a playoff for the two winners in order to decide the champion for the Super League in June.
Source: Football Association of Zambia